“Two people were injured due to smoke and have been taken to hospital. Four people have been evacuated,” Kjell Lindgren from Stockholm police told TT.
Police have cordoned off the area affected, which is close to the prestigious Stureplan district known for its nightclubs and shops, and firefighters have advised Stockholmers to avoid the area on Tuesday morning. Smoke had spread across large parts of Östermalm in the north of the capital.
Police said there is a risk the entire building could collapse. Just before noon they began to evacuate the opposite building. Firefighters are expected to stay at the scene until late in the evening.
“There are flames coming from every floor; it's burning everywhere. The facade is covered with fire foam so it almost looks as if the first snow has come,” said a TT reporter at the scene.
Emergency services were first alerted to the blaze at around 5am when an automatic alarm went off.
At around 9.30am, there was a small blast when an oxygen canister exploded, but nobody was injured.
Firefighters at the scene. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Two bus lines, the 2 and 55, were diverted because of the fire while other routes were delayed by up to 15 minutes. There was no disruption to underground traffic, though SL press officers said the Stureplan exit of the subway had been closed off, and that their staff would be in place to advise travellers.
“We have 60 to 70 firefighters from at least eight fire stations in place. There is a risk of fire spreading, but we are trying to limit it so that the fire will not spread to the next block,” Christer Wahlström from Stockholm’s fire department said.
“We are working on extinguishing both internally and externally. It is difficult to access all the nooks and crannies of the property.”
The building houses one company and nine apartments.